Playing the Fish

Playing the fish denotes the getting of the fish into the boat once it is lured into the bait. Once the strike is made, it is time to play the fish so that you do not lose the catch. The act of playing the fish holds importance as there are fishes that are quite strong and tend to break free from the hook. Many a times it has been seen that the fish cannot be just reeled but have to be played for a while to get them into the boat. To play a fish successfully there are a few techniques like setting the hook properly, setting the drag and then back reeling and landing the fish. These are discussed as below:

Setting the hook: bass are a species that have tough jaws so they need a sharp hook point and a solid impact to hold them in place. Often treble lures are used to catch bass. Fishes like barbell and chub often head towards snags when hooked. Therefore it is important that large fishes like these are not given control and a steady pressure is maintained on the line so as to steer them to clear water. The slack-line technique should be used to set the hook. If you feel a strike, the rod should be held in a position that is between 10 and 11 o'clock. Then the rod top should be quickly dropped and with a fast strike over the head, the slack line should be snapped. This action would nail the hook point in the same manner as a hammer pounds a nail. The hook should be set with an upward jerk.

Setting the drag: after setting the hook properly it is time to set the drag properly so as to prevent the line from breaking by a big fish or an obstacle. The correct way to set the drag is to set it at half the pound test of the line. This can be accurately done by using a spring scale that is used in weighing fish.

Back reeling: when the fish is played on a spinning reel in a manner that it bypasses the drag system of the reel, it is known as back reeling. This is a technique that can be mastered with practice. Back reeling presents an advantage in the sense that when against the drag the bass is pulling the line, the line twist is decreased to quite a bit as you are not reeling.

Landing a fish: many of the game fishes like bass do not have teeth, so with practice, they can be landed without using a net. Landing nets must also be avoided if you wish to release the fish as these nets may damage the fish. Landing a fish may be done by either following the lip-landing method or the net method. While landing a fish it must be remembered that if you fight, the fish would fight harder. Therefore it is best to pull the bass from the cover and let it tire before bringing it on to the boat.